The History of Freemasonry in Saffron Walden 

Up to the Year 1869 there were no facilities whatever in this part of Essex for Freemasons to exercise their craft unless they went to Chelmsford, in the Essex Province, to Bishops Stortford in the neighbouring Province of Hertfordshire, or to Cambridge, and travelling was by no means easy in those days. 

With the increasing interest then showing itself in everything connected with Freemasonry it was inevitable that steps would sooner or later be taken to found a Lodge in Saffron Walden. A series of preliminary meetings were held at the 'Rose and Crown' Hotel in the Market Square, Saffron Walden for the establishment of a Lodge.  'The Walden Lodge' was decided upon as a name and the Rose and Crown Hotel  as the meeting place. The Petition to Grand Lodge was recommended and supported by the Stortford Lodge No 409 (Hertfordshire) and also by the Three Grand Principles Lodge No 441 (Cambridge).

The Walden Lodge received it's warrant on November 16th 1869 and  Joseph Bell agreed to be the first Master.

Joseph Bell a builder, had a distinguished career as a Saffron Walden Councillor, Alderman and was it's Mayor ten times between 1877 and 1909

Notable Dates and Events

1869 Saffron Walden becomes a centre for Freemasonry in North Essex, attached to the Essex Provincial Grand Lodge. 
1871 At the February Meeting 2 guineas was voted to the fund for the relief of French peasants (Franco-PrussianWar). 
1912 Joseph Bell died.
1912 At the April Meeting 5 guineas was voted from Funds to the Lord Mayor's fund for the 'Titanic' Disaster.
1915 The Parish Room was to be used for regular meetings thus severing the connection with the Rose and Crown which had existed for 46 years
The Parish Room
1927 No 2 Church Street  was secured from the London & Stansted Furnishing Co and converted into a Masonic Hall. 
1953 The Audley Lodge receives it's warrant and meets at Church Street
1969 Christmas Night, the tragic fire at the 'Rose and Crown' where 11 guests lost their lives. The ruined building was then pulled down, all that now remains of the hotel is the bunch of grapes hanging above the 'Boots' shop and the shell canopy from over the front door which has now been set into the brickwork in the yard at the rear.    
1981 Elsenham Lodge receives it's warrant and meets at Church Street.
1984 United Fairway Lodge receives it's warrant and meets at Braintree but transfers to Church Street in 1993
1985 Lodge of Stedfast Unity receives it's warrant and meets at Church Street.
1992 Concorde of Stansted receives it's warrant and meets at Church Street.
1996 Chypping Walden Lodge receives it's warrant and meets at Church Street.



Carnival Day, July 10th the Church Street Masonic Hall is severely damaged by Fire, Smoke & Water. Lodge Furniture that had been in regular use since it was donated by Joseph Bell, is lost in the Fire along with other Masonic antiques and artifacts.

Arrangements are made to hold the Masonic meetings at the Saffron Hotel.

Photographs on this page from :

'Saffron Walden in old photographs' by  H.C. Stacey (ISBN 0 85207 148 5)
Kind permission of  The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd. -  Publishers